Free the picture of dorian gray Essays and Papers - …
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The other painting of 1955 is the colossal White Flag; it is double the size of Flag. What makes this version different? The title telegraphs what is new. Now being white defines every step in the logic of the image, starting with its surface and moving out from there. Now the noisy must be hidden, safely plastered flat. Now there is no avoiding the work’s assertive ambitions, as if whiteness demands an increase in scale. And now there is a decided loosening in the handling of the newly blanched surface, with the result that at certain crucial junctures in the images–the points of several stars, for example–drips occurs, as if the design itself is leaking or bleeding or weeps. Where a national whiteness is concerned, not least for a state in the throes of an endlessly belated racial integration, all these terms might seem able to assert their claims.
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Both these images lead directly back to Flag. What no one has so far noticed about this much-studied painting is the origin or purpose of ten raised white letters that curve along the lower right arm of the bottom left star. Large enough to read, they spell out “ITED STATES.” What matters even more is how they were made, and what the blue wax surrounding them conceals. They are raised letters on an embossed government seal lying just beneath the surface, and that seal seems to sit on a passport page of an unknown white male, who, we learn, is married and weighs 182 pounds. He too is a citizen—the citizen, duly inscribed and certified—a national ambassador authorized to leave the country, and then return “home”. His presence seems essential to Flag. So is his place within the fabric of the painting—precisely where, in this national image, we would expect him to be.